Northwest Native: November 2015

Monday, November 30, 2015

November Budget [2015]

It's November Budget time! As always I am linking up with Franish's Budgeting Bloggers. I always love looking through the posts linked up because for some reason I'm fascinated with what people spend their money on and what kind of deals they can get.

1. Steve Madden Skirted Coat (Green) - $168, on sale for $99.90 - paid with gift card = $0
I did it! I bought the coat and I went with the green like most of you were pushing for. I think the green will look best on me, plus I want to channel my inner Blair Waldorf, obviously. Looks like I need to stock up on headbands... The coat is actually backordered until December, so I didn't receive it this month and may end up returning it if it doesn't look good, but I like to include whatever I buy anyway! Late edit: I got the price on this adjusted since it's on extra sale at Nordstrom for $74.92.
2. Boyfriend Windowpane Flannel Shirt - $30, on sale for $18 - 10% birthday discount - paid with gift card = $0 returned
I was obsessed with this shirt for so long and finally ordered it with my birthday gift card. I kept reading that it was huge, so I ordered a small (my normal ON size) and an extra small and I didn't think the small was very big. I wanted it to be kind of baggy like on the model, which is how I thought my normal size would fit. It was pretty fitted, so I returned it.
3. Geo-Pattern Poncho-Sweater - $56.94, on sale for $39 - 25% promo code - 10% birthday discount - paid with gift card = $0
This was a little different than I expected. I don't know how to describe how...I just know that it was. But I still love it!
4. Hooded Long Cardigan - $58, on sale for $34.80 - paid with gift card = $0
I've already mentioned this at least four times now. I actually bought this with a gift card when it was full price and it went 40% off soon after, so I got a price adjustment. Since I had paid with a gift card, Nordstrom mailed me a gift card with the difference, which worked, I just thought it was kind of weird.
5. Lacy Bell Sleeve Shift Dress - $48, on sale for $28.80 - paid with gift card = $0
Remember when I did my splurge/save/steal post on this dress? Well, this was the 'save' dress, and the 'steal' dress was $27.99 from Target. I paid full price for this and then had it price adjusted like the cardigan. But I was so happy to get the higher quality dress for the same price as the steal!
6. Long Sleeve Swingy Shift Dress - $48 - paid with gift card = $0
I wore this to work with black tights and black booties, but I'm also excited to wear it with bare legs and cognac booties! 

You guys...I spent zero dollars this month. I know spending gift cards still means I had those gift cards and now I don't...but it's no money out of my bank account! I also returned the sweater I bought last month, which went back to my Nordstrom gift card stash. I have about $35 left on gift cards to Nordstrom and about $70 left on gift cards to Old Navy.

And guess what else? I got my eBates payout of $29.91, Splender payout of $10.04, and my first ThredUp bag made me $34.07. (My second bag made me $0...boo. I have another one pending, and I think I'm going to have to order another to sell some more stuff!) So does that mean I made $74.02 this month?!


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UPDATE #1
Well...this would've been a record-breaker, but...it's November 24th and I just made two purchases that were not on gift cards. I should go back and add them to the collage and start over, but I wanted everyone to see that I was so close to spending no actual money! But...when Target is doing 40% off sweaters and it ends the next day and you want to get your ideal ugly Christmas sweater and another color of one of your favorite sweaters ever made...what can you do?! Here's what I bought:
Ugly Christmas Sweater - $27.99, on sale for $16.80 - 5% REDcard discount = $15.96
When I saw this I knew it had to be my ugly Christmas sweater! I thought about waiting but figured 40% off was too good to pass up! Well, it turns out it was too good to be true. My normal size fit except for the sleeves being waaay too short. (I can't believe I got my order so quickly--it was on my doorstep on Saturday when we got home!) returning
Long-sleeve Sharkbite Pullover Sweater (heather gray) - $24.99, on sale for $15 - 5% REDcard discount = $14.25
I already own this sweater in the blue color, and it is amazing. I'm 5'7" with a long torso and it's long enough for me to wear with leggings. It's also insanely soft. I wanted the charcoal color, but online it says, "shipping not available" and "not sold in stores." Sooo...if you literally can't buy this color, why is it on the website?! Also I've seen it in stores before so that's a bunch of bologna. If it's no longer in stores it should be listed as sold out...which means it shouldn't be on the site. Get it together, Target.

Total spent: $14.25 - but when you factor in the $74.02 I received...I didn't really spend anything, right?!

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UPDATE #2
Sooo you know that balance on my Old Navy gift cards I mentioned above? Well, it's November 25th and it's gone now. It was 40% off if you spent $100, so I bought a dress and leggings that I had been wanting, and fell in love with three black tops with lace detail. At least two of the tops will be returned, because I definitely don't need all three...I just want to pick my favorite. Anyway, this purchase I will not be including since I'm so unsure about what I'll be keeping. I'll add it in with December. I only spent $0.58 of my own money though after the promo code and gift cards!

What did you buy this month? Or what's on your wishlist?

I forgot to include this originally, but tomorrow is Julie and I's Tell Us About It link-up! The theme? FAVORITE CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS! I am so excited for this one, you guys. Also, check out this post by Laura for other Christmas link-ups!

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Confessions [11.25.15]

On Monday, I went into the restroom at work and headed for the first stall. Then I saw this horrifying giant moth and I freaked out and went down to the farthest stall because no way was I going in there with that thing. Then right as I sat down it flew into my stall! How did it know?! I swear it was bloodthirsty. And, well, there's not much you can do when you are (ahem) tinkling... So I just stayed as still as possible...but the dang thing started flying around and I seriously shrieked and flailed my arms like crazy. It disappeared and I checked everywhere on myself in the mirror on my way out and thankfully it was not on me. And I had an anxious feeling and elevated heart rate for at least five minutes after that horrific experience. #killermoth #leavemealone

I am so sick of companies emailing with "exciting post ideas" or "opportunities" or whatever they want to call them...and then pitching me this idea where I get nothing out of it! I mean, I've only ever done one post in exchange for any sort of compensation, and that was when eShakti gave me a customized piece of my choosing for free (no monetary compensation or anything) in exchange for a review. And I'd be fine if I never do a sponsored post again. BUT I feel like it takes a lot of nerve to email these post ideas that are absolutely straight up advertising for these companies and so clearly benefit them, and then not give me anything while they are gaining something. Newsflash: I can come up with my own posts, don't act like you're doing me a favor by giving me a post idea...that just so happens to promote your company. #seriously? #rantover

I have had the idea of dying my hair red (well, at least redder) since May. I told myself I was going to chop my hair off and have it colored after the wedding. I have yet to make the appointment because talking on the phone/making appointments freaks me out (even though the girl I'm going to make the appointment with is a family friend, used to babysit me, and came to our wedding...). That's #hairconfessionpart1. #phoneanxiety #maybemymomshouldcallforme

#Hairconfessionpart2 is that I keep going back and forth on the coloring my hair thing. There's this sweater I like, and it's a rust color. But I don't know if I should get it because I feel like I'll look like a big orange blob if I color my hair. But then again...what if I don't color it?! Ugh. Someone make my hair coloring/sweater purchasing decisions for me, please and thank you. #indecisive #tocolorornottocolor

Do you ever write a post and then everyone comments on one little thing that you thought was just the tiniest part of the post (and didn't even add in for comments on it)? Or maybe you wrote a post with a bunch of different things in it and nobody comments on the part you thought was the funniest/most interesting/etc? Sometimes this happens to me and I'm like...what is going on?! #that'sthelamestdetailinthepost #notwhatIwasgoingfor #toeachtheirownIguess

I know I've mentioned before how I push the envelope when it comes to work clothes. (I'll wear a t-shirt and throw on a sweater or fancy necklace and hope no one calls me out, I wore a denim jacket before I knew if it was allowed on non-casual days...) Well, I got to the Portland office and the sales reps always wear suits, of course, for meetings with clients. But I noticed that the sales assistant wore jeans. I stuck with dressing up for two days and then on Thursday I switched to jeans. Yesterday my boss sent an email to everyone letting them know today is casual Wednesday (since it's the last work day this week) and I felt a tiny bit guilty. But it's really the owners and CFO that are traditional and set that dress code (even casual Friday was hard for them to approve) and they're in Seattle. #rebel #jeansforpresident

My last confession is that I have decided to take a blogging hiatus for Thanksgiving and Black Friday. I hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving! And if you're in Canada (or anywhere else outside the U.S.)...then I hope you have a great Thursday! ;) #happythanksgiving #pulloutthestretchypants

Linking up with Nadine and Kathy for their confessions link-up annnd Laura and Lauren for #HashtagHumpDay!

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

TWOsday [11.24.15]

Today I'm linking up with Stephanie for TWOsday! All you do is post two random things on a Tuesday, simple as that!

One // On Monday I got a call from my (super quirky) coworker up in Seattle. She told me my other coworker nominated me for something. I was really confused and hesitantly asked what. She said, "I need you to have a baby." Hahaha! I found that funny because of my post about babies the other day. She apparently stumbled upon some cute Christmas stuff for babies and mentioned she needed someone to have a baby so she could buy it for them. (She has twins in college.) She told my coworker he should (because he's engaged) and he was like, "Mattie just got married, I nominate her." See?! It's so hard to not have baby fever when there's so much cute baby stuff out there! I had to let her down easy and tell her we were waiting a while. Not like I could pop one out by Christmas for the cute stuff, anyway! Ha!

Two // I am reeeeeeally excited for Thanksgiving. I'm not sure what it is, since as I mentioned previously, Thanksgiving is not my favorite. Maybe it's the four days off? Or the fact that after work on Wednesday I only have to be in the car for like an hour (as long as traffic isn't horrendous) instead of four-ish to get to my parents' house? Or that maybe I'll finally find the Christmas spirit once Thanksgiving is here?

And I know every single, "sixteen blog tips you MUST FOLLOW," says that every post must contain a picture...but I don't have any relevant ones. So you get no picture!

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Weekend Recap: The one that's not in order at all.

I'd like to print a retraction. (Is that something people do in blogs?) Remember in Thursday's post when I made a horrible joke about going bananas because I had to smell Banana Boat suntan lotion on my face all day? Well, turns out it's actually Hawaiian Tropic so my horrible joke was unwarranted. Just thought you guys should all know. #truthinmedia #lamejokefail

Michael and I went to Salt & Straw (aka the best ice cream in the world) on Saturday and it basically made my weekend. You guys...they have Thanksgiving ice creams like spiced goat cheese with pumpkin pie, sweet potato with maple pecans, apple cranberry stuffing (and this is where it gets weird), buttered mashed potatoes and gravy, and salted caramel Thanksgiving turkey. I personally opted for a split scoop of sea salt with caramel ribbons and chocolate gooey brownie. I should've gone full sea salt with caramel but it was still delicious.
Michael got the salted caramel Thanksgiving turkey (which has turkey skin candy brittle in it...) and I tried a bite...SO not for me. I got a piece of the brittle and I'm not a huge turkey fan anyway, but in ice cream...ugh. I did sample the spiced goat cheese with pumpkin pie (even though I don't like goat cheese) and it was good, but it wasn't sweet enough for me.

You guys, I know I posted a ton of ugly Christmas sweaters in my Christmas gift guide post, but I found my ultimate ugly Christmas sweater this weekend. And I decided I absolutely need it. Penguins are my favorite animal, by the way.
Target has a ton of ugly Christmas sweaters, including a  Darth Vader one, a really offensive one that mocks OCD, and some similar to other ones I posted in my gift guide: Fleece Navidad, Christmas tree, elf... And I just realized they're all on sale which means I probably need to buy mine right away, right?!

I also found a Christmas t-shirt I seriously want. I'm kind of scared of graphic tees though. I wore them in middle school and looking back they were super embarrassing. I know they have more stylish ones now, but maybe these Christmas ones are made for like seventeen year olds.
Not sure why I didn't take a picture of this next one but it's probably the best Christmas t-shirt ever created. I mean who doesn't love a good Mean Girls reference?!

On Friday night, we watched the Blazers game and ate homemade happy hour food. We had totchos with pulled pork, burgers, and a bean salad thing. And I drank Mike's Hard black cherry lemonade because I'm super classy. Seriously, I just love the taste of the black cherry lemonade.
I feel like they taste like Squeezits! Anyone remember those?! I loved them!

Michael and I watched Thursday's Scandal on Friday night and I got way too excited because Quinn was wearing my duster cardigan (that I had just worn that day for the first time, actually!). I could try to find a screenshot of her wearing it but that sounds like a whole lot of work.

On Sunday I went to Nordstrom to return the sweater from my October budget post (didn't like how low-cut it was on me) and I wanted to try on this turtleneck and this buffalo check cardigan/poncho hybrid (and it did not disappoint!). The purpose of this was mostly to see if I wanted either one or both to put on my Christmas list...but the sales lady asked if I wanted her to bring me a few other sweaters to try. I should've said no since I had no intention of buying any and it'd be less awkward upon leaving, but I'm dumb. She seriously brought me at least twelve other sweaters. So I tried to sneak out and make my return without her seeing me...but she was the one at the register...and she tried to talk me into one of the sweaters and went on about how they come in different colors and sizes. It was very uncomfortable.

I met my parents for lunch on Sunday before that and they brought me my moisturizer and our toothbrushes and a bunch of stuff we left. So happy I don't have to smell like the beach anymore. Also, my mom and I ordered the same sandwich (turkey bacon avocado) which was both enormous and delicious. Half of mine is in the fridge for lunch today!

After running errands I decided to stop at Starbucks. I texted Michael to see if he wanted anything like the good wife I am. I walked in the door and I had the drinks stacked on top of each other...Tully jumped on me and I dropped Michael's totally full drink all over the floor. I was way more upset about it than he was, thankfully.

Lastly, this finally happened. Living in Portland is going to make me gain about a billion pounds.

Did you do anything fun this weekend? What do you think about graphic tees for adults?


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Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday Favorites: Christmas Cheer & Turtlenecks

Happy Friday! This post is going to be short and sweet, because I'm having a little bit of writer's block! I'm linking up with AndreaErika, and Narci for Friday Favorites!

Blogger Christmas Cheer Exchange! Today is the last day to sign up for the Blogger Christmas Cheer Exchange that Olya and I are hosting! It's open to Canada as well as the U.S., and for the rest of the details, check out my original post!

Rules of Engagement Michael and I just started watching this on Netflix. It's a nice, light (and pretty cheesy) sitcom to watch before bed, which we needed. I love Megyn Price from Grounded For Life, Oliver Hudson is on Scream Queens, which is a new favorite of mine, and Patrick Warburton is like a cartoon character. [Note: Uhh, he's the voice of Kronk from The Emperor's New Groove so he literally is a cartoon character...I didn't realize this at the time I wrote it.] His voice does not seem real. Listen to him speak and you will understand!

Natural light! This may seem like a weird favorite, but it really is a favorite for me! Our old apartment had a glass door in the living room and a big window in the bedroom. They were next to each other but separated by a wall. So all of our natural light came in from one side. Our new apartment has a one large window, three small, and a glass door, and they're spread throughout the apartment which means natural light comes in to every room except for the bathroom. At the office in Seattle, the back where everyone works has absolutely NO windows to the outside. The offices have windows...but they're windows to the inside, so they can see out of their office if their door is closed. The new office has windows, and I even have my own office, with my own window!

Outfits lately I love a good poncho. This one is from Old Navy last year, but this year's version is here. I also got this patterned one and wore it for the first time yesterday with a burgundy long-sleeved turtleneck (similar one here!) under it.
For some reason I really liked the below outfit too. I think because I love the top and I love the skirt, and I hardly every wear so much black, so it was different for me!

Fall/winter staples I stumbled upon this turtleneck and I love it! The cable knit details down the sides, the split hem, the color... And I kind of started leaning towards the dark brown OTK boots I posted yesterday, and then when two ladies behind two of the blogs I read daily commented and voted dark brown that just kind of pushed it over the edge for me (thanks Kylie and Caitlin!). Wouldn't these look so good in an outfit?!
turtleneck sweater & otk boots

Boy bandz Sooo...a couple weeks ago I was listening to music on YouTube, and Sorry by Justin Bieber himself came on. I thought I was super cool and hearing it before it was a big thing, but then I heard it on the radio like the next day so as usual I am behind the times. But I absolutely love it! I also love Drag Me Down by One Direction, which I know is a little older, but I'm still a big fan!

Also, since my laptop is my only computer at work, and it's also what I'm using as my personal computer at home, I'm looking for a laptop bag (it doesn't have to be specifically for laptops, just has to fit one and be good for carrying it!). Do you have any recommendations?

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

The state of my life.

I know confessions are usually done on Wednesdays...but I had that post about babies done and just sitting there for at least two weeks. I don't even know if this post will end up being confession-y or just straight up ramble-y and full of random phone pictures. I'm guessing the latter.

I'm starting off this post sitting on the couch in my comfy clothes, sequined leopard print slippers, and drinking orange juice out of my (super cute!) stemless polka dot Kate Spade wine glass.

To my left is our mantle, which is decorated totally randomly. I was looking at it and asked Michael his opinion. I think the left side with the blues and browns looks put together and like something that a normal person might actually do. And then the right side is a gold pumpkin, a bright Mexican looking owl pitcher, a candle, and a Green Bay Packers gnome. Michael said, "I like it. It's a bunch of random stuff. It's very us." Aside from looking like I just grabbed a bunch of random stuff and put it on our mantle, it looks like we're nice and unpacked and settled in.

But then I look to my right...
This looked at least five times worse when I went to work yesterday morning. Michael did a ton of unpacking and putting away while I was at work, so that was good.

Back in the bedroom, everything is super neat and tidy. I mean just look at my closet with everything hanging up!

Lol jk you didn't actually fall for that did you?! Surprise!!!

Other fun things that are happening include Michael and I sharing a toothbrush because we left our toothbrushes at my parents' house and only had one spare. And yes I realize toothbrushes are like $2 (right? I don't even know) but I never remember to buy things.

I also left my moisturizer at my parents' house. So one day I used Aveeno body lotion on my face. Let me tell you, it didn't feel very great. The next day I used this Banana Boat moisturizing sunscreen I have that is tropical scented...and smelling that stuff all day drove me bananas (get it, Banana Boat?!). I don't want to buy another moisturizer because mine is spendy and I only replace it when I need to. I could buy a cheaper one in the meantime, but again...the remembering is not my strong suit.

Guess what else this genius did. I got to work at my first day in the Portland office. There were two IT guys there (our IT department is all in Seattle so that was a shock to see Seattle people there). They were updating everyone's computers to Windows 10. Anyway, I went into my office, looked around, and there was no computer! Like, what? There were two monitors and a docking station for my laptop. I asked one of the IT guys where the computer was...and he told me my laptop is the computer. I just need to plug it into the docking station. So anyway, I had to call Michael, who had just left a few minutes before from dropping me off, and have him bring me my laptop.

But the good news is I made a delicious sweet potato sausage hash for dinner last night. I am obsessed with sweet potatoes but never buy them because potatoes take approximately six hours to cook. Dinner did take a long time but it was sooo worth it.

I've also finally started burning my pumpkin cheesecake candle from Bath and Body Works and it's wonderful. And I love the Blazers, which you can kind of see in the background. But I loved them pre-move too.
I also love this personalized cookie jar that we got as a wedding gift! We didn't have a cookie jar before, so it's good, but Michael can't eat gluten, and even if we bought gluten free cookies he isn't that into sweets...so guess who is going to eat ninety percent of any cookies that go in there? (More like 100% because I'll probably buy cookies with gluten anyway.)

Lastly, I am dying for some over-the-knee boots. The Dolce Vita pair that every single fashion blogger in the world has posted about lately because they're on sale don't come in my size...so that feels like a slap in the face. BUT I found the Sole Society ones below and now I'm struggling with which color I would want! I'm pretty drawn to the cognac (because I pretty much always am) but I'm not sure.
OTK boots

I'm linking up with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud Thursday! Also, I hope to be caught up with blog reading soon! I've had to skip some posts, skim some, and read some without commenting. But I'm trying to catch up!

And now we've reached the end of my rambling, and I've switched to wine. ;)

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Babies.

When I was little, the first thing I remember wanting to be when I grew up was a mom. I think a lot of girls probably experienced this. How else do you explain baby dolls?! I guess it was because I admired my mom. Or maybe I was self-centered and thought my mom had an awesome job getting to raise an angel like me, and I wanted to raise an angel too.

I then entered a pessimistic, rebellious, jaded (or some other similar adjective) phase in college when I decided I would never get married. What's the point? I could date someone forever and we could not get married, or I could just never find 'the one' and not be married. It worked either way! And I also decided I wouldn't be having children. At least not biologically. I just didn't want to completely alter my body forever. I was open to adopting a child on my own, or with a partner. Just not a husband. Because I don't know, I thought boys were the scum of the earth or something. (Seriously, I didn't even have really bad experience with guys, I don't know where my temporary man-hatred came from.)

Fast forward to now and I am an old married lady. Yes, a lot of stuff happened in between, but that's a post (or series, perhaps) for another time. And I've had baby fever ever since I first saw my favorite ever baby picture of Michael. He's a toddler, holding an adult's hand (they're cut off--probably one of his parents) and wearing a suit. A SUIT. Toddlers in suits just get to me. Anyway, he's wearing this suit and scream-crying his head off. His face is bright red with the effort. I know this makes me sound evil, but seriously, it's just the cutest. I'm not some freak who takes pleasure in children crying. This picture though, it's just precious.

Once I changed my mind on marriage, I also changed my mind on kids. I wanted to have a mini Michael like the one in that picture. Michael has told me the same about wanting a mini Mattie. His baby fever is much more fervent than mine, and much less rational. I do want babies, but we just got married, we don't own a home, and I want a few more years of freedom. He wants babies. And that's where his logic stops. Ha. Every time I see cute pictures of babies or cute baby clothes at a store and mention something about my ovaries hurting (ha!) Michael jumps at the chance. "Do you want one?!" And I always shut him down and say in a few years. He almost won the other weekend though. We stopped at Old Navy and saw the cutest onesies and baby leggings I have ever seen in my life.
adorable onesies
Onesies: Here, here, here, and here
baby pants!
Leggings: Here & here
Are you kidding me with those?! Buffalo check, florals, foxes and other woodland creatures?! Michael used to always joke that we should start buying baby stuff now because of inflation. This is the only time I actually wanted to. I mean seriously. Knowing my luck I'd buy every single one of these and then have a boy so most of them would be useless.

My mom reads the blog now (hi, Mom!) and I'm wondering if this post is making her hyperventilate with fear or excitement. My parents don't have any grandbabies yet and neither do Michael's. Once Michael's mom mentioned us having kids and Michael sullenly said, "Yeah, in like forty years" (can you tell he's stoked that I want to wait a few years? Ha!) so Michael's mom wrote in our wedding guest book, "It's okay if you want to have kids before you're sixty." I know she wants some grandbabies. I know my mom does too, but I had never heard her say anything about it around me (I always guessed so Michael and I wouldn't get any ideas) until a while back when we were all at Target looking at the precious Halloween baby clothes and she mentioned being excited to have grandkids one day. I'm the baby in my family...like, really. So I've never even seen my mom hold a baby. I'm weirded out thinking about it, actually!

Honestly, I'm kind of scared of babies. I know that sounds weird, but like I said, no one in my family had babies (after me). I never babysat for actual babies. When presented with the opportunity to hold an infant I panic. Yes, seeing an adorable baby melts my heart, but holding one is terrifying to me. I get so stiff and feel so relieved once someone takes it away from me. Michael's cousin had a baby a year ago. We met her at Thanksgiving last year and I had an awkward horrifying baby-holding experience. I haven't held her since. Michael's aunt (the baby's grandma) told me that she's always been like that with babies. She liked to hold her own, and she likes to hold her granddaughter, but holding babies has never been her thing. So maybe I'm not insane after all.

I'm going to be honest right now...my biggest fear about pregnancy is my feet growing. I've heard from multiple women that their feet grew a whole size. My feet are already huge. It honestly gives me anxiety thinking about having to go up a shoe size. And what do I do with all the shoes I own already?! Deep breaths...

So...that's what I'm waiting on. What about you?

Side note: It's also my mom's birthday today! Happy birthday, mom!

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Monday, November 16, 2015

Weekend Recap: Ducks & Moving Trucks

First of all, thanks to everyone who has signed up for the Blogger Christmas Cheer Exchange that Olya and I are hosting! This wasn't mentioned in my original post, but it IS open to Canada as well as the US!

We're in our new place in Portland! We aren't fully unpacked, but it is so much bigger and the layout is so much better...and it's still waaaay cheaper than our place in Seattle was! The dogs are also loving how much room they have to explore outside. Luckily, the ducks in the duck pond are actually pretty intimidating (they quack like crazy at the dogs every time they go by) so I don't think we'll have problems with the dogs chasing them. They're normally reeeally into chasing all birds...but I think these ducks can hold their own.

Moving is obviously a chore, I don't have to tell anyone that. And I know I was feeling sad about leaving Seattle (it's still weird to think that we aren't there anymore) but now that we're here the sadness of leaving is mostly replaced by the excitement of the new beginning.

I got to drive a 16-foot moving truck from Seattle to Portland on the freeway in a downpour. We had reserved a 12-foot truck, but wanted to pick it up early, and when we got their the 12-foot truck wasn't ready, so he gave us the 16-footer for the same price. I did fine, minus the four times I drove over the curb when turning right and also the time when I was trying to park it at the new apartment where I *may* have backed it into a tree... Luckily there was no damage to the tree or the truck.

Also, I am ashamed to admit this, but...I lost my Fitbit. Yes, the new one. At least I have the old one somewhere (if you recall, I lost it, bought a new one, and then found the old one in my laundry basket recently). Well...I lost the new one while we were moving things. I think the mattress or box spring, since my wrist was pressed up against them while carrying them inside. We had to do all of our moving in in the dark (thanks, Daylight Savings!) but I tried looking around with a flashlight and didn't see it. I was hoping I lost it somewhere inside the apartment and would find it during unpacking. Then I took the dogs out and found this.
Womp, womp. I'm sorry that you got ran over, Fitbit. R.I.P. :(

But it's okay, because our new apartment is four minutes from a Fred Meyer (which is a superstore like Target or Wal Mart--it's a PNW chain), four minutes from a Safeway, and there's one other grocery store even closer, but I think it's a fancy expensive one that we probably won't frequent. Also we live insanely close to a Burgerville which I realize probably means nothing to most of you...but it's an amazing PNW fast food restaurant that uses local ingredients and they make the most amazing milkshakes. And we got Portland Cider and Portland chocolate so life is good.
Cider, sleeping pup, and a husband showing some thigh.

Today I'm going to attempt to change my name! I'm actually super nervous that I won't be able to. I have crazy anxiety about it. I'm going to the Social Security office first...but I don't even know if I have mail addressed to me here. I should probably go check that. After that, I'll go to the DMV to get an Oregon license with my new name on it! But...I only got one copy of our marriage license. So if the Social Security office takes it...I'm screwed. Also, there's still the whole mail issue. So maybe I won't be going to change my name. I took the day off work to do it, so I really hope I can. Someone tell me it's going to be okay because I'm so nervous! I get anxiety about the weirdest stuff, I'm telling you.

Hope everyone had a great weekend that didn't include backing a moving truck into a tree and having your Fitbit run over, but maybe included chocolate or a delicious milkshake!

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Friday, November 13, 2015

Blogger Christmas Cheer Exchange!

Hi guys! Today is the day of the big move! I'm posting to let you know that Olya from The Siberian American and I are hosting a blogger Christmas exchange! I am so excited that Olya reached out to me and asked if I wanted to host this with her!

The Details

What:
Our Blogger Christmas Cheer Exchange is a fun opportunity to get to know another blogger! We will also be having a linkup, so everyone can see the great gifts you picked out.

When:
11/20: Signups close
11/23: We will e-mail you your person by this date
12/7: Deadline to ship your package
12/18: Show off your gift by linking up with us!

How much will it cost me?
We have set a minimum of $20. If you would like to spend more, we don’t mind, but please don’t expect anyone to spend more than that.

Am I sending to/receiving from the same person?
No, this is a Secret Santa exchange. This way, you get to know two people!

Should I contact the blogger that I am partnered with?
If you need to contact your blogger, please do it through the Elfster site. We want your identity to be a surprise!

Let’s have a great time! Click here to sign up!

We would love to have as many people as possible participate, so please share our button:

Christmas Cheer Exchange

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<a href="https://www.elfster.com/exchange/view/16159322/095fc6/
" rel="nofollow">
<img src="http://imgur.com/UecBmRo
" alt="Blogger Christmas Exchange
" width="300" height="300" />
</a>
</div>

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Christmas Gift Guide!

Really, this post should be titled, "Christmas gift guide for Mattie!" because these are all things that I totally want. But, the best gifts to give are ones that you would want to receive yourself. (Except maybe don't buy any of this stuff for like your dad or your brother, I don't think they'd be too excited to receive any of these things.)

My first category is...Christmas pajamas! I personally change into comfy clothes the second I get home from anywhere...so I can never have too many pairs of pajamas.
christmas pjs
My favorites are the two middle ones, I think. I love the other set too, but it's too hard to choose which design I would want, so that kind of pushes me away. How do I choose between squirrels, foxes, polar bears, and reindeer?!

Ugly Christmas sweaters are always a good idea. I think these would be best to give to someone that you usually exchange gifts with a little bit early, so they can get some wear out of the sweater. Or you can just buy one for yourself, like I'm tempted to do.
ugly xmas sweaters
Santa Paws - Fleece Navidad - Christmas Tree
Elf - Create-your-own ugly sweater kit - Penguin
Patchwork - Light-up (!) Rudolph - Falalallama
I am hoping so hard that the llama sweater gets restocked. I love a good pun, and I love llamas. Blame it on The Emperor's New Groove, or maybe my weekend staying on an alpaca farm (not llamas, but close enough, right?) in Australia...but I'm a fan. Penguins are my favorite animal, so I'm also digging the penguin. I love that the Rudolph one actually lights up! So perfectly tacky. And the patchwork one is amazing. It looks like an actual ugly Christmas sweater that would've been worn un-ironically in the past. And the Christmas tree is classic to me. I'm not crafty enough to make my own sweater...but if I had a crafty friend I might give them the kit as a gift!

After already making the collage and being too lazy to redo it, I found this pug Christmas sweater! I'm a big fan of dog sweaters. I own a Beagle sweater but it's not Christmas themed at all.

I absolutely don't need any more cute mugs, but needs and wants are completely different things, people.
mugs
Snowman - Dog - Macarons
Rise & Shine - You Are The Best - Yule Fuel
Hello - Luckiest Guy - I woke up like this
I'm not a huge fan of how plain the bottom middle mug is...but the saying is perfect. I'm thinking Michael might need this as a gift for his first married Christmas. Right?! I love mugs with cute/funny/sassy sayings and mugs with faces, as you can see here. And I'm a big fan of gold. Also, macarons. Macarons would be a great gift for me too.

Starbucks mugs have a black background and wouldn't work in the collage, but this beauty from Starbucks is my favorite mug at the moment. I absolutely want it for Christmas. (Hint hint to my mother who I know is reading this!) And because you know I love macarons, Starbucks also has a macaron mug! Lastly, these mugs with cute sayings are perfect for gifts...I would know, I gave them to my bridesmaids and they were a hit!

By the way, I'd take a medium in the pajamas or sweaters in case any of you are just dying to buy me a Christmas gift. ;) I'm linking up with Holly for Waiting on Wednesday!

What do you want for Christmas? What are you planning to give as gifts?

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Creamy Pumpkin & Italian Sausage Soup

This is totally out of the ordinary for me. I am not a recipe person, and neither is Michael. (Except for baking--I've always known this but Michael learned the hard way that baking is actually a lot of chemistry and you can't just make stuff up as you go unless you know what you're doing.) Michael is like a chef. He will have an idea for a dish, and he can just start out with the base and just taste along the way to see what it's lacking. For me, I'm just too lazy to use recipes. They usually call for more ingredients than I like to use, and there's all these steps...I usually cook boring stuff so I don't need a recipe.

Michael made this creamy pumpkin Italian sausage soup the first time for my birthday in 2013. I requested the exact same meal (which included a delicious pasta he made too) last year. He then made the soup for our Friendsgiving celebration last year and it was a hit. Around Thanksgiving last year, Michael made the soup and pasta meal of my birthdays for his parents and grandparents, and everyone loved it. His grandma asked him to send the recipe, so Michael had to actually figure out how to write it down as a recipe, instead of just throwing everything together. I made the soup on Sunday, so I'm glad he had this recipe for me to follow. (I may have overcooked the Italian sausage by breaking it up into too small of pieces...oops! But it's still delicious!)

I didn't really think about blogging this until I had started making it, so I didn't take a picture of all of my ingredients together. I took a few pictures of the process though.


Ingredients
1 package mild Italian sausage (19 ounces)
1 white onion
1/2 cup chopped leek
2 handfuls sage (chopped or ripped into small pieces)
1 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree
32 ounces chicken broth
1 cup cream or half and half

First, chop the onion and leek. (Michael told me to use the stalk of the leek towards the bottom, as opposed to the leafy part. There are some outer layers that are papery, and I tried to remove those as I chopped.)
I cried so much chopping this dang onion. Then I cried through the leek too because the bowl of onion was still sitting there.

Then, brown your sausage in a large pot over medium heat. We use avocado oil for all of our cooking, so that's what I used. I always eyeball oil, I don't measure. Our pot was not nonstick though, so some sausage was sticking to the bottom and I had to put a little bit of the chicken broth in at that point to stop the sticking.
I used Johnsonville sweet Italian sausage. I do not like handling raw meat, so having to get the sausage out of the casing was so gross...but the end product was worth it.

When sausage is fully cooked, add onions and leek and cook until the onions are translucent.

Next, add the sage and cook another 3-4 minutes.
I took a picture at this stage for some reason. I made the sage pieces a little bigger than I should have. But see, that's why I don't cook complex meals that need recipes. ;)

Add canned pumpkin puree and chicken broth. Lower heat to low-medium. Cook for 10-15 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. I let the soup simmer for longer than 10-15 minutes because we weren't ready to eat yet. I also forgot salt and pepper until later, but I did do it eventually. ;)
I used Safeway brand chicken broth and Libby's canned pumpkin.

To avoid curdling of the cream, heat cream in a small saucepan. Ladle a small amount of soup into the warm cream. Add mixture back into the soup and stir.
We used half and half in an attempt to make it a tiny bit lighter. Not that it makes that big of a difference.

And there you have it!


I'm linking up with Mary for Delicious Dish Tuesday and Sweet Little Ones for Tuesday Talk!

What are your favorite soup recipes? We've made this one from Kaitlin's blog and it was delicious, and it's perfect because it's gluten free for Michael!

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Monday, November 9, 2015

Final Weekend in Seattle

I already miss Seattle and we haven't even left yet. :( We tried to make the most of our last weekend in this city which is where our relationship really began and where it grew!

On Friday, we went to The Pink Door, a restaurant that has a special place in our hearts. It was pretty important to our relationship. A couple years ago we got this fig toddy and thought it was delicious. I got it on Friday and while it was pretty, it just tasted too strong for me. Michael said it's probably because we're like an old married couple now and can't hang. Haha.

Saturday was spent doing some moving preparations. We met my mom in Olympia to pick up my dad's truck so we could use it for moving purposes. We took a bunch of stuff to Goodwill, like our kitchen table and chairs and my dresser.

For my birthday, Michael bought us tickets to go up to the observation deck in Columbia Tower, Seattle's tallest building. We decided to go on Sunday afternoon and it was beautiful. We were there for daylight and sunset. When we decided to leave, it felt really sad, like we were officially saying goodbye to Seattle. I can't imagine the feelings when we drive out of Seattle with our stuff on Friday.

We were supposed to meet up with Michael's two closest friends and one of their girlfriends but it fell through, so we decided we would go out to eat. We kept weighing the options and none of our 'favorite' restaurants seemed right. We went somewhere I had never been and Michael only went to during his bachelor party night. It felt right going somewhere new-ish, because that's what we've done here. We don't repeat too many restaurants because there's always somewhere new to go. I ate chips and guac and churros with dulce de leche sauce for dinner and I'm not sorry about it.

I also may have had a strong margarita with dinner and that may be why I'm trying to wrap this post up quickly.

A few more things of note--yesterday (November 8th) marked two years of having Flora in our lives. We are so happy we adopted her. It was definitely one of the best decisions we have ever made.

The other thing is that I found my old FitBit! I had a Flex and already mentioned that after losing it I replaced it with a Charge. I remember I was cleaning the day I lost it. Well...it was in our hamper! I am usually pretty bad with laundry and have a perpetual pile going. A few weeks ago I did a few loads and got it down to hardly any laundry left...and somehow I didn't find it then. On Saturday I did the same thing...tried to get the hamper as emptied as possible...and as I grabbed something to throw in the washer, my Fitbit fell out! I figured it had to be somewhere in the apartment or thrown down the trash chute, since I lost it on a cleaning day. I can't believe I actually ended up finding it. Michael might start using it...otherwise I guess it will be backup in case my Charge breaks or something.

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Friday, November 6, 2015

Friday Favorites: Blogging & Birthdays!

Sooo I told you about my laptop issues. In the same post I told you that I'm moving and keeping my job but transferring to our Portland branch. The Portland branch has a slightly different culture due to some...difficult employees. My bosses don't want me to be miserable, so they actually gave me a work laptop so that I could work from home occasionally! In case you were wondering how I've been able to consistently write posts lately, that laptop is why! I have also made Genius bar appointments two more times and cancelled them both. Oops. I'll eventually get my computer looked at, but not until after we move.

I had a great birthday! I can't believe it's been a week and a half and I have yet to mention it! Michael and I went to Purple Cafe & Wine Bar for dinner and it was ridiculously delicious. It was Seattle Restaurant Week so we got a three-course dinner, one of those courses being dessert...but Michael also bought me two cupcakes (from the place that provided our wedding cupcakes!) and a chocolate bar. Yikes. (Yes, both cupcakes were mine...they didn't have gluten free ones that day for poor Michael!) Also, please note the card. How romantic. Haha! I also got a bunch of money in gift cards to Nordstrom, Old Navy, and Starbucks which has been amazing. Shopping (and drinking fancy coffee drinks) without actually spending money is the best.

Adele's new song is amazing. Homegirl can do no wrong. Michael said it's too 'basic.' Uhhh excuse me?! No one calls Adele basic and gets away with it. Ha!

My other favorite song at the moment is Same Old Love by Selena Gomez. So catchy, so good. And I'm also still loving Ellie Goulding's On My Mind.

I'm sure everyone and their mother has heard about Jimmy Kimmel's annual prank where he asks parents to tell their kids they ate all their Halloween candy and get their reactions on video. This year's compilation does not disappoint!
A few takeaways from this for me:
-if my kid hit or pushed me...they would be in huge trouble.
-the kid calling his parent a 'turkey butthole' made me laugh way too hard!
-the kids that are super forgiving and sweet after their parents tell them they ate the candy are precious.
-the very last one in the video is super hilarious. I don't even know how the kid thought to say that!

I posted my favorite coats from all over the Internet on Tuesday, but I found a new contender yesterday that might be my frontrunner now! Again, it's totally Blair Waldorf (at least in the green). It comes in black too, but I would definitely want one of the colors. I'm obsessed with burgundy so I keep thinking I want that, but then I think about how green would look with my super pale skin and reddish hair and I'm conflicted!

Price-matching at Nordstrom is an absolute favorite! Remember when I introduced you to this duster cardigan and this bell-sleeve dress? I ended up ordering both of them with birthday gift cards at full price. They both went 40% off in Nordstrom's big fall clearance sale so I just got on live chat with customer service and got $42.40 credited back to me!

Our photographer posted a preview album of our wedding photos last night! The pictures are all amazing. Michael and I decided to wait to look at them until we were together...which was torture because they were posted before I was done with work at five. Then Michael had a work happy hour, then a phone interview at 6:30, then a call with Comcast scheduled at 7. But it was so worth the wait!

It's our last weekend in Seattle and I'm getting really sad about it. I'm really going to miss it. Our neighborhood is so great, being walking distance to downtown, restaurants, shopping, the waterfront, Seattle Center... It's definitely going to be an adjustment having to drive everywhere (though our new apartment is a six minute drive from a great mall in Portland...so hopefully that will lessen the blow). It will be fun to get to know Portland, though. And we can go up to Seattle for weekend trips.

Linking up with AndreaErika, and Narci for Friday Favorites!

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Thursday, November 5, 2015

November Goals [2015]

I totally forgot about goals. I guess that'll happen to you when you only had one goal the month before and it was pretty easy to accomplish without even thinking about it... Speaking of, let's see how I did on that goal, shall we?

Get Married!
Yes, friends, I did in fact get married! On October 10th, 2015, to be exact. Is it funny that when I put that as a goal I was like, "Watch us cancel or postpone the wedding and me have to come back and eat my words about how my goal was sooo easy and totally going to get done"? [No, I had no doubts about Michael and he doesn't about me...but seriously, I'm always paranoid about having to eat my words! Ha!]

So after that quick recap, I considered just putting, "Move to Portland" as my goal for November but I thought that was boring. Plus, there are multiple things we need to do involving the move, so I figured I can split those into several goals and not be quite as boring.

Meet up with Katie & Julie before the move!
Check. :) We met up on Tuesday, and yes, this was planned before I wrote this post. But I've seen things going around that say, "I write things I've already done on my to-do list just so I can get the satisfaction of crossing them off" and that's exactly what I'm doing here. I figured I'd have a picture to put here, but we failed as bloggers and didn't get one!

Purge, Purge, Purge!
I am trying to be diligent about what we keep and take with us in the move. Getting rid of stuff feels great no matter when you do it, but it makes a lot more sense to get rid of it before packing it up and moving it 180 miles. We have a table and chairs that are the standard light wood with white legs (do you know what I'm talking about?). It was a hand-me-down from my parents--they had it at our float house (a little one-room house that floated on the river, but has since been sold). It's just kind of bulky and Tully has done a number on it by chewing on the bottom of the chairs when we're eating anyway. I'm getting rid of my dresser because it's just a plain IKEA dresser and it's done the job for three years, but I've got my eye on a slightly fancier IKEA dresser. (I'm adult enough to get a fancier dresser, just not one not from IKEA apparently.) And basically I'm going to try to get rid of anything else that I can! Including hand cream that I found that was dated 2003. And various medications of Michael's that expired in 2012.

MOVE
I mean this kind of has to happen, right? Our current lease ends on November 13th so we have to move somewhere! But again, it's something I can add just to cross off later. #dedicated

Go ice skating!
Remember when I mentioned Michael's family's shower gift to us? Well we finally got to open our first date envelope and the date for November is to go ice skating and get hot cocoa (complete with the money for ice skating and a Starbucks gift card). I think I'm going to cheat and get a peppermint white mocha instead of cocoa though...it's my go-to winter-y drink. :)

Start figuring out Christmas gifts
I'm not going to put pressure on myself to have all of them complete this month...but I want to make some progress.

Daily dog walks
Walking our dogs around our current neighborhood is a no-go. We're literally in the middle of the city and one of our dogs is very anxious and timid. She just slinks back and tries to hide at every noise or person walking by. She expends more energy being nervous than she does walking. Our new apartment is in a residential neighborhood, and though my anxious dog gets nervous walking in my parents' neighborhood in a tiny town, I'm going to try to walk the dogs daily for the rest of the November after we move.

I'm linking up with the ladies behind the monthly goals link-up, Angie and Karen!
Monthly Goals

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